When Kesha performed at the Grammy Awards in January, Janelle Monáe introduced her by talking about the Time's Up movement: “It's not just going on in Hollywood, it's not just going on in Washington [D.C.], it's right here in our industry as well.” Kesha -- backed by Cyndi Lauper, Camila Cabello, Andra Day and others, all wearing white -- sang “Praying,” her anthem that centered on her yearslong legal battle with former producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald. “Praying” was a triumphant reclamation of the singer's power and narrative, and among fans and on social media, it felt as if a wave of change might finally be coming to the music biz.
The #MeToo movement has profoundly affected the film and TV industries, and accused men who try to restart their careers are often met with disdain (e.g., Louis C.K.). In music, such men seem to have an easier time of it. In 2017, three years after Kesha leveled her accusations against him, Gottwald co-produced pop sensation Kim Petras’ debut single. In May 2017, Antonio “L.A.” Reid left Sony music following a sexual harassment claim by an assistant. Within months, he raised $75 million for a revival of his Hitco Entertainment company. The label has signed artists including Big Boi and Dinah Jane of Fifth Harmony.
Others are less public, but possibly biding their time for a comeback: Charlie Walk, former president of Universal Music Group’s Republic Group, parted ways with the label in March after adamantly denying several allegations of sexual misconduct. After 11 women made allegations including rape and sexual assault against music mogul Russell Simmons, he stepped down from all of his companies last fall, but on Nov. 7 tweeted a sketch of women on a pink background with the caption, “Women Win.”